It’s hard to believe that its already been almost two months since American Airlines retired their MD-80 fleet. If you recall, the Mad Dog retired to some really unique fanfare that honored the long-serving jet. As huge MD-80 fans, we covered the drawdown and eventual retirement of the beloved jet.
The skies over DFW are quieter since American retired their fleet of MD-80s. But if you are an avgeek, you are probably still missing those old smokey JTD-8s and shiny American fuselages over the DFW Metroplex. Well today, spotters at DFW got one last treat. Tail number N9677W flying as AA flight 9648 departed from DFW at 3:32pm en-route to her retirement spot at Roswell, New Mexico. There she joined many other American Airlines MD-80s who are also resting comfortably in the low-humidity environment.
If you look at the video above, you’ll see what is likely to be the start up of the last American MD-80 at DFW Airport. (Be sure to check out the puff of smoke at 3:30 as the APU shuts down after start up.) Special thanks to our friend Dylan at Boneyard Safari for the video.
The MD-80 aircraft stayed behind for a few months even as the rest of the fleet departed for Roswell. American Airlines said the jet stayed behind for deicing training at DFW Airport. There were a few rumors that N9677W might be headed for Founders Plaza at DFW Airport originally. Unfortunately for avgeeks, her flight to Roswell proves that the rumor for that particular aircraft will not materialize.
A few of AA’s Mad Dogs will probably escape the shredder
While most of the MD-80s will be turned into scrap metal, there are a few that might find a second life. A few MD-80s sent to Roswell over the past couple of years have returned to service, most notably for Laser Airlines in Venezuela and Everts Air Cargo, based out of Alaska.
The MD-80 that flew today was only 20 years old having first flown in 1999. American acquired TWA’s MD-80s back in the merge between the two airlines in 2001. As part of the acquisition, American continued to operate some of the last MD-80s off the line from the Long Beach factory until the retirement of the type in September. When American retired the fleet, some of the aircraft had flown around half the cycles approved for the type, meaning that structurally, the jet could still fly safely for a number of years longer with the required maintenance and upkeep.
Possibly two more chances to see an American MD-80 Mad Dog fly
If you missed today’s last American MD-80 flight out of DFW, there is still a bit of hope to catch an American MD-80s departure. There are four American Airlines MD-80s parked at the Tulsa maintenance center. It is rumored that those two jets will be donated to aviation maintenance schools sometime in the future. We’ll keep you updated as we find out more.